What It Was Like Seeing Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 Rumours Tour

Fleetwood Mac Rumours Tour 1977

Feature Photo by Brian Kachejian

The summer of 1977 stands as one of the most spectacular summers of all time for rock concerts. I was 16 at the time. Between the months of June and August 1977, I saw Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and Yes all perform at New York’s Madson Square Garden. Earlier in the year, I had seen Boston, Foghat, ELO, and Queen. There were many more besides that, as 1977 was the most incredible year for rock concerts I can remember. It was a time when most teenagers could easily afford to go to concerts.

The average ticket price for a concert was between four and ten dollars. It was a time when you purchased tour tickets at the theater box office or at record stores or department stores hosting Ticketron outlets. Ticketron eventually became Ticketmaster in the 1990s. It was pretty easy to get tickets for most concerts except for bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, or Bruce Springsteen, in which fans had to use forms from newspapers to order tickets through the mail.

Attending concerts in the 1970s was an addiction. It was what young rock fans did. It was a very different world, and I am so glad that I grew up then without the distractions that the internet and cell phones now have on today’s youth.

The record industry evolved dramatically in 1976 when Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive album became the biggest-selling album of all time for that moment. It changed the music business because the record industry learned that with the proper promotion, they could make millions by promoting an album to a mass cultural audience beyond the rock niches they had previously been targeting. Over the next couple of years, a series of releases would benefit from that new strategy. One of them would become Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.

Even though it was Fleetwood Mac’s 11th studio album, it was only the second album with the band’s new lineup that featured newest members Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham along with longtime members Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and the late Christine McVie. Rumors would become, at the time, the biggest-selling album in history. It also happened pretty quickly. Rumors sold ten million copies within 30 days of its release. That was unheard of back then.

Forty-seven years later, it remains in the top 10 of the biggest selling albums ever. Younger people who were not even born at the time may ask what fueled the album’s massive success. Well, there are multiple reasons, but one of the biggest was the public’s infatuation with the beautiful Stevie Nicks. When tickets went on sale for the Rumours tour, she was the number one reason why I wanted to see Fleetwood Mac. I was not alone.

Fleetwood Mac played two nights at Madison Square Garden at the end of June 1977. Earlier in the month, I saw Led Zeppelin in the same arena, So it would be pretty difficult for any musical artist to match the excitement of seeing the greatest rock band of all time in New York City. Still, Fleetwood Mac was probably the most famous pop band in the world on a mass level after having broken all sales records. There was plenty of excitement in seeing the band.

The opening act for Fleetwood Mac was Kenny Loggins. He was the perfect opening act. He had not yet established his huge solo career as he would eventually do so. However, he was well known based on his fabulous catalog of Loggins and Messina albums and songs.  I don’t remember much from Kenny Loggins’ set, as the crowd was restless while he performed. I remember that the song that got the most enormous response from the crowd was “Danny’s Song.”

It wasn’t too long after Kenny Loggins left the stage before Fleetwood Mac arrived. In the 1970s, unless you knew someone who had seen a previous show or read a review in the newspaper, you had no idea what songs the band was including in their setlist. We always tried to guess what song a band would open the show with.

Fleetwood Mac hit the stage hard opening with the song “Monday Morning” from their 1975 album Fleetwood Mac. It’s interesting how many bands open shows with songs that also opened up the first side of their albums. I was sitting in the lower-level bowl at Madison Square Garden. I was lucky to have gotten the first row. My friends and I purchased these tickets at the Madison Square Garden Box Office. When you purchased tickets directly from the arena’s box office, you always had a better chance of getting good seats than the Ticketron outlets.

The band was smoking right from the start. What was most noticeable in the opening number was the immense presence of Lindsey Buckingham on guitar and vocals. He is probably one of the most underrated guitar players in rock. After watching him dominate that stage on the opening number, you would not have thought that.

The band wasted no time in presenting their crown jewel. So many of us were there to see Stevie Nicks in the flesh. She was one of the most beautiful female singers of all time. Her voice and mystique added to the crush that most 16 year old males like me had on her. Yet her fan base wasn’t just limited to male teenage fans. The females loved her, too.

For the second song of the night, John McVie began playing that iconic bass line to the song “Dreams.” The crowd went nuts. “Dreams” was the biggest single on the Rumours album, and the band gave it up very early in the set. “Dreams” was the only single from the Rumours album to hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

Stepping up to the microphone was the good witch, all dressed in black before a haunting but beautiful leafless tree showcased as a silhouette graced by a golden moon. It was such a gorgeous set design and just perfect. When Stevie Nicks began to sing “Now Here You Go Again,” it was just one of those moments you never forget. It was similar to when we all heard Robert Plant sing “I Had a Dream” just a couple of weeks earlier when the “Song Remains The Same” opened the Led Zeppelin show on the same stage. These were rock gods and goddesses. Witnessing this live, was the only way you saw these rock stars sing these songs. There was no MTV at the time, no computers, YouTube, or cell phones. This was the moment, and it was just breathless. The hold that Stevie Nicks had on the crowd was stunning.

After Stevie Nicks had pretty much put most of us in a trance, Lindsey Buckingham hit us all in the heads with his guitar pretty much saying it’s time to snap out of it. In a very surprising move, Lindsey Buckingham went onto the legendary guitar riff to Peter Green’s “Oh Well.” This was a track from the Fleetwood Mac era before Lindsey and Stevie had joined the band. I dont think anyone expected the band to play that tune because this was a different Fleetwood Mac. Yet Lindsey tore it up. Fleetwood Mac was a band, and Lindsey, along with John McVie and Mick Fleetwood, demonstrated some jaw-dropping musical skills on this one, reminding the crowd of the band’s past history as a blues band. I think both Stevie and Christine had left the stage for that song, but my memory is a bit cloudy on that.

After a raucous version of “Oh Well,” it was time to bring Stevie Nicks back center stage as we were astonished that only four songs into the set the band tore into their 1975 hit “Rihannon.” Once again, Stevie Nicks turned Madison Square Garden into her own garden. The wasy she danced around the stage in that long black outfit had us all once again gasping for air. It’s hard to put into words what it was like watching Stevie Nicks perform “Rihannon” in 1977. I have seen Fleetwood Mac many times since then over the years, and they have always been great, but no show ever compared to what it was like in 1977 when all of it was so new to both the audience and the band. I am sure being teenagers at the time played a role in the experience, but in the end, it was the time period of the 1970s that really made this so special.

While Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham dominated the early part of the show, Fleetwood Mac would eventually turn to another much-loved member, Christine McVie, when they dived into the song “Oh Daddy,” which featured Christine McVie on lead vocals. The balance that all three lead singers of the band brought to Fleetwood Mac was such a big reason why this band became so huge in the late 1970s and ever since

The rest of the show featured some of the best material from the 1975 Fleetwood Mac album and Rumours. Once again, Stevie Nicks captivated the Garden with stirring versions of “Landslide” and “Gold Dust Woman.” Christine McVie’s “Over My Head” and You Make Loving Fun” were also killer. Lindsey kept tearing it up on some of the songs that featured everyone on lead vocals with him up front, like “Go You Own Way” and “Second Hand News.”

The concert ended with a stunning encore that opened with a brilliant version of “The Chain.” I will never forget how powerful it was. The final song was a tender and sweet version of “Songbird” sung by Christine McVie. By that time, we were all done. Fleetwood Mac had taken us on a phenomenal musical ride. What was even more impressive looking back is songs from just two albums primarily fueled that ride. One of them being one of the most significant records ever released. To have seen a concert promoting that album meant we were a part of one of the most amazing stories in classic rock history. Of course, we didn’t realize it at the time; we thought all we were experiencing was going to continue forever………

We have so many articles on Fleetwood Mac on the site. You may like….

Fleetwood Mac: All You Need To Know, History And Directory
Top 10 Fleetwood Mac Songs
Top 10 Fleetwood Mac Love Songs
Top 10 Fleetwood Mac Songs Sung By Christine McVie
Top 10 Lindsey Buckingham Fleetwood Mac Songs
Top 10 Stevie Nicks Fleetwood Mac Songs
Top 10 Peter Green Fleetwood Mac Songs
Top 10 Bob Welch Fleetwood Mac Songs
Complete List of Fleetwood Mac Albums And Songs
Top 10 Fleetwood Mac Album Covers
Top 10 Fleetwood Mac Albums
Ultimate Stevie Nicks Page

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